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Domestic Violence Protection and Restraining Orders

If you are being threatened, abused, or emotionally traumatized by the actions of a significant other, sometimes the only thing that can stop the abuse long term is an order from the court. Obviously, if you or your children are currently in danger, call the police. Our Bellevue family law attorneys understand that abuse of this kind can be extremely difficult to confront. Often, the abuser will try to make you feel helpless and not worthy of any potential help. If you are in an abusive relationship or live with abusers, calling one of our family law attorneys working in Bellevue can be the first step in breaking the cycle of abuse. Our attorneys understand the highly sensitive nature of cases like yours and will aggressively fight for your protection.

In Washington State, there are multiple orders you can ask for which have the prevention of abuse as their goal. These are the Domestic Violence Order for Protection, Restraining Order, No-Contact Order, and Civil Antiharassment order. Each of them has a slightly different purpose and different context in which they are applicable. For this reason, the details of your case are important in determining which order best fits your situation and provides you with the greatest reduction in abuse.

An overview of each type of order that can protect you from further abuse is reflected below. Yet, as with all family law cases, the specific details are extremely important. For this reason, the discussion below will be useful in helping you understand the variety of options available to you. It will not, on the other hand, provide you with a full picture of how the specific details of your case should be analyzed to create a strategic plan. Our family law attorneys working in Bellevue understand domestic violence cases are emotional matters. We will fight for your protection and work to reduce any feelings of residual fear caused by the abuser.

Domestic Violence Order for Protection

This is the most commonly requested order of the four we will discuss. It is essentially a direct order from the court to the abuser forbidding them from harming you again. Some specific requests that can be accomplished through this order are:

  • Order the respondent not to threaten or hurt you, enter your residence, or order them to leave a shared residence
  • Give one parent temporary custody of children, set a visitation schedule for minor children

The only types of restrictions this type of order cannot place on the respondent are related to property issues. For example, a domestic violence order for protection cannot address child support, alimony, or any other division of property determinations. These orders are generally affective for one year, from the date they are entered with the court. After that point, you must go back to court and renew the restraining order if the restrained person is still a potential threat to your safety.

Thankfully, the courts in Washington are extremely responsive when it comes to orders of protection. With this said, there are various case-specific considerations to be had. Our Bellevue family law attorneys understand what specific details are important to highlight, and what the courts look for when deciding to approve or deny a request for an order of protection.

Restraining Order

A restraining order is a particular type of protection order that can be requested as part of divorce proceedings. In a restraining order, you can request every remedy available in a domestic violence order for protection plus the property or support considerations unavailable in the protection order.

The unique remedies available through a restraining order are related to the disposition of property and support. One example of a common restraining order requested and issued during divorce proceedings is one which orders the respondent from disposing of marital assets during the separation period. In some cases, the Respondent will try to deplete assets under their control in order to reduce the amount of support or maintenance they must pay. Another remedy uniquely available through a restraining order is ordering temporary child support or spousal maintenance.

If you are going through a divorce and are worried about your spouse depleting community resources, or if they’ve threatened you, it is worthwhile and beneficial for you to ask for a restraining order. A divorce is already one of the most emotionally trying things you will have to deal with, so ensuring your soon to be ex-spouse is unable to make it even harder is important. Our family law attorneys in Bellevue can help you determine the specific requests and ensure those requests are enacted by the court. Their experience and understanding of the difficult trials you are going through will help you feel more at ease.

No-Contact Order

These orders are issued by the court during a criminal action. The court will usually decide if this order should be entered if they decide the Respondent should be released on bail or personal recognizance. This order does not generally last as long and is not really something that is in your control to determine. For the purposes of family law, this type of order will never come up.

Civil Antiharassment Order

A Civil Antiharassment Order is a protection order used when the person needing protection is not related to or married to the abuser. This type of order can be useful if you are being harassed, such as being followed, but have not received threats of violence or physical harm from the person harassing you.

These types of orders are rare in family law cases, but our Bellevue attorneys are here to help you make this determination. There are certain situations where even in a family law proceeding, an order such as this can be useful and necessary to achieve the protection you or a loved one needs. Understanding the details of your situation, our attorneys will explain to you how those details apply within the context of the law.

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